What is 'Big Government'


What is the empirical definition of ‘Big Government’? At what point does government transcend from ‘small’ to ‘big’? There is political mileage to be had from attacking the breadth of government, so at what point does that run out? Is any government greater than no government ‘big government’?


My believe has always been this. Government is big and gets bigger not by size, but by the amount of control it exerts over the citizens. The Governors of Wisconsin and Michigan are perfect examples of big government.


It seems to be whenever the government moves to start helping the little guy instead of making moves to make the rich and powerful even moreso.


Examples in attempting to override the voters in any way they can? I live in Michigan.


“Big government” is a summation of 1000 increments. It transcends taxes. It transcends spending. It transcends law. It transcends bureaucracy. It transcends codes and regulations and restrictions and zoning and all sorts of governmental dictates.

It’s the summation of all those things. And more. Too often we look at “big government” in the context of one of those factors. Or even in the context of one specific issue.

The incremental burden of an issue, or the incremental loss of liberty from one issue might be minuscule. “This new tax adds only 22 cents per month to your cost…” But add up 1000 of them and the burden becomes significant. The limitation of a particular bureaucratic decision might not even impact a specific individual, but 1000 bureaucracies run by 10,000 unelected “directors” making non-legislative rules eventually impacts everyone.

And let’s not forget the power of both parties’ unelected leadership controlling what candidates we have as choices in the elections. Parties no longer embrace policies and principles for the sake of making our country better, but rather they embrace what gives them the best chance to hold onto power.

It’s not limited to the national level. Nor State. It goes right down to municipal government, school boards, and local commissions.

Government is bigger than the sum of the citizenry it governs. That’s Big Government.


Didn’t both governors just sign bills limiting things that the new democrat governors can do.



@Adam These were promises that the democrats made and now Snyder makes it harder to keep those promises. I assume these are things the people of Michigan voted for.


@Adam, this is even worse.


“Big Government” brought you

  • child labor laws
  • civil rights laws
  • minority voting rights
  • women’s voting rights
  • the minimum wage
  • maternity leave
  • the US highway system
  • National park system

And on and on. Those decrying government seem to forget why we need government.


It doesn’t mean anything.

It is a cute way of pretending you are not a dweeb without ever having to take a serious position on anything.


My bad message. Should have read “Are you thinking of those as…”. I completely agree about Michigan and Wisconsin.


I’m against school lunches because I’m against big government; just like my man Tommy J.


Gotcha. I was blown away. Are there any small Government politicians anymore.


For many, “Big Government” is “the government telling me what I can or cannot do”. For those people, it is the legitimate function of government to tell other people what they can or cannot do.

It’s like the definition of “legislating from the bench”, which only applies to decisions that a given individual personally dislikes.


I simply want to reduce government to a size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.


The OP makes no distinction between federal and state governments.
I do… because the constitution does. It’s weird that some people do not.

And speaking of the constitution, that holds the answer to the question insofar as the federal government is concerned. The federal government is TOO big when it usurps the authority granted in the constitution to the states. At least in the US.


Big government is just rhetoric.



I think that it has come to mean “Government I don’t think I get any benefit out of but someone else might so ■■■■ them”


Yeah. The adjective “Big” is just used to precede any entity that some group wants to disparage, justified or not.

Big Pharma. Etc.


With a population approaching 330 million, big govt. is here to stay.

“Big Government” is a moniker for the bureaucracy and all the red tape that comes along with it. If you can walk into the mayor’s office and have a sit down with him/her, it ain’t big govt. If you can’t well, you are getting there.